Impromptu Birthday Cake

Almost every Sunday night we have a Bible study at our house. Yesterday, our friend and bible study leader, had a birthday. So this morning I was contemplating making a cake when he very innocently came up to me at church this morning and asked if we happened to have enough cake on hand for snacks for tonight because he forgot to assign someone to bring snacks. Hmmm, let me think... do I have enough cake? It might be difficult, but I think I can come up with something....

Happy Birthday Vernon! We love "doing life" with you!

Going Extreme

Sadly one of our Pastors is leaving. Pastor Mike and his family are heading off for a God-sized adventure in Williston, ND. We will miss them and we are sad to see them go, but at the same time, we are thrilled to send them off to follow God's calling in their lives.  A couple of weeks ago I was asked if I could make a cake for their farewell party.

My first idea for the cake was to do a big snow blower! Then I thought about a giant stack of jelly beans (he loves them). But I wanted to incorporate their entire family because they would all be missed. So I decided on a stack of suitcases with stickers to represent their past and future:

His wife is a wonderful vocalist, so I hand painted a sheet of music:

His oldest son had a Perry cake for his last birthday, so I added Perry the Platypus:

His youngest had a creepy crawly cake with lizards and spiders. I didn't want to gross anyone out, so I stuck with the lizard:

For Mike (here comes the extreme part) I made a string of working Christmas lights! I was so excited to be able to make them actually work!

On the back of the suitcases, one last nod to Pastor Mike:

Here are some more photos of the cake:

All in all, I was very happy with how this cake turned out. It was a lot of work (the most I have ever put into one cake), but worth every second. Farewell to the entire Skor family; we love you, we will miss you, but we can't wait to hear what God is doing through you in your next adventure!

Allegro Book Club

A couple of months ago I was asked to make a cake for a book club. After tossing around several ideas we finally settled on an open book with some sugar flower roses. I spent a lot of time looking at photos of open book cakes and tried to decide what I liked about them and what I did not. I tried to take everything I learned and incorporate it into this cake. I am really happy with how everything turned out. I hope the book club enjoys it!

Making these roses gave me a chance to play with my new veiner.  If you look really closely at the pedals on the flowers you can see the effect.

At first I was a bit afraid of putting a real rose in a photo with my sugar roses, but I am actually really happy that there is not much of a difference!

On a slightly unrelated note, My blog is creeping up on it's 1000th visitor, so if that is you, let me know!

***Congratulations to Vernon R. who was my 1000th visitor! Thanks everyone for your support =o)

CCCSAS Show - The Rest

So at the end of my last post I promised more pictures... so I will start with one of the events I watched, the "Decorate a Cake in 30 minutes" challenge.  The competitors included Julie Durkee and Cheryl Lew (past Food Network Challenge Winners), and two others that I did not know.  This was a very laid back competition with lots of laughs and "smack" talk that was very good-humored.

After they decorated their cakes, the auctioned them off with the proceeds going to charity.
Here is Julie Durkee with her cake:

My first cake celebrity =o)

 After that fun I had a chat with Michael Barnes (a local chocolatier from Pieces of Chocolate)  and I even got to eat a piece of his art! Yummy!
The room was quite warm and the butterflies tried to fly away... so I got to have a piece =o) 65% Dark Ghiradelli chocolate, ummmm.

This was entered in the Sugar Art division... simply stunning. Pulled, blown, and cast sugar. I believe this one took First.

This cake had to be about 5 feet tall! Quite beautiful! Rapunzel's hair was pulled sugar! This one won The People's Choice.

Cookies! I love the intricate piping on these. Can you believe they were in the Amateur Division? Needless to say they won too. 

This on was in the Intermediate Division and it won, so next year she (Christy Henderer) will be in the Professional category with me.  We had a good time chatting at the show.

Beautiful string work on this one. Can you believe this was in the Amateur Division? Wow.
I loved these sweet cupcakes! I can't imagine hohw long it must have taken to finish all the details.

Wizard of Oz! Each one was a work of art! Amazing...

This one was one of the entries in the children's Divisions, I don't remember the exact age range, but I think it was 7-10.  Check out the firefly.. there is a light in it that really lights up! I was impressed.

I couldn't resist this one. Who could resist an octopus? Not me... This one was in the culinary student category and I loved it.  Look at the details, the colors and how she stacked the blocks! Inspired!
Check out the back! Awesome!

This last one was from a professional display, but I couldn't resist getting a photo of this sea urchin test. I had to do a double take to make sure it wasn't real (and I am a marine biologist, so it is saying something). The Cameo and flowers are also all sugar.  I have said it a lot in this post, but once again, Amazing!
There was something for everyone at this show and I had a great time. So many wonderful entries! I hope you can join me next year!

CCCSAS Show - The Competition

Whew! My cake made it in one piece and set up went great. Unfortunately, I didn't end up placing this time, but I am okay with that. When I was searching for advice on cake competitions, one thing I read is that you have to make a cake that you are happy with and not worry about the judges. You simply can't please everyone all the time. You also cannot predict what the judges want and if you try to make a cake that will make the judges happy and still don't win, then in the end, you probably haven't even made yourself happy. So, although I did not win, I am still very proud of the cake I made. There is always next year!

Anyway, how about a look at my competition?

In the Professional Division:
#1 By Julie Ecklund (Last Year's Winner):

 Wow, just look at that detail! This cake really did blow me away. Check out the ringlets in her hair! Stunning.

 Entry #2 by Anenele Gererra (not sure I got the spelling of that one right!):

 The Peacock is blown and pulled sugar. and each feather was hand painted. Very nicely done.

Entry #3 by Laurie Clarke:
There is nothing in this photo for scale, but this cake is TINY! Really a miniature. I think it was maybe 4 inches tall, definitely smaller than a cupcake. I would not have wanted to pipe all that tiny detail! Well done for working on such a small scale.

Entry #4 by Baker Unknown:
 All the string work you see on this piece is Oriental string work. It was quite stunning.

Entry #5 by Baker Unknown:
 On this one, the two white layers had bridgework, the top orange layer was sugarveil (I think), and the lower orange tier was a stencil transfer done in royal icing.

Entry #6 by Pat Straub:
 Simplicity at its best. The flowers are sugar flowers.

Entry #7 by Baker Unknown:
I loved this little woodland scene! So cute and lots of beautiful details.

The eight entry in this category was mine. So, you can see there was immense competition! 

So Who won? #1 took First and Best in Show, #5 was second, and #7 took third.

I have more to share, but I am exhausted, so I will post more later. Thanks to everyone who supported me, encouraged me and prayed for me! I had a great time and I can't wait for next year. Special thanks to my dear hubby who chauffeured me and corralled children all day, and to my wonderful kids who were out of the house for 12 hours today (and did not drive daddy crazy) just so mommy could do something she loves.

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